Tesco puts the fada back into shopping

Supermarket chain ‘actively’ considering the introduction of Irish self-service checkouts

Tesco has designated a till at the company’s Headford Road branch for Irish speakers on foot of the positive reaction to the introduction of bilingual signage throughout the shop last summer.

Tesco has designated a till at the company’s Headford Road branch for Irish speakers on foot of the positive reaction to the introduction of bilingual signage throughout the shop last summer.

Sat, Mar 22, 2014, 08:37

Tesco is considering the introduction of bilingual self-service checkouts across the supermarket chain’s 146 shops in the State.

The move to update software with Irish language capability is being “actively” considered, a company spokesman said. It follows the introduction of a similar programme in Wales six years ago.

Customers at one of the largest Tesco shops in the West can already pay for their shopping in Irish following the recent introduction of Irish language services at the Galway Shopping Centre branch.

The retailer has designated a till at the company’s Headford Road branch for Irish speakers on foot of the positive reaction to the introduction of bilingual signage throughout the shop last summer.

The company has extended the use of bilingual signage to staff areas, delivery vans and to the canteen where the menu has also been translated. Classes have been held for staff and have been well received by staff.

Tesco’s ‘Every little helps’ catchline has been translated to “Tugann and rud is lú cúnamh” and bilingual announcements can been heard across the tannoy at the Galway branch.

Branch manager Denis McCarthy said the reaction has been very positive.

“If you walk around the store and listen to people, you’d be amazed at the number that speak Irish naturally as they walk around - doing their shopping, with their kids, or on the phone.”

The company has also posted staff policies, rosters and office signage in Irish. The canteen menu has been translated and twelve staff members wear designated badges to say they speak the language.

Not only has the introduction of Irish as a working language appealed to native Irish speakers - others have taken the opportunity to either brush up on the Irish they learned at school as have some who are new to it altogether.

Texan Patti Feerick who is personnel manager at the Headford Road branch has availed of the lessons herself along with some Polish colleagues.

“It’s amazing the amount of people that come out of the woodwork. We have a very large Polish community as well and they’re taking on the language,” she said.

“We were taken aback at how well received it has actually been and customers are commenting in-store how nice it is.”

Ms Feerick said the company had considered the introduction of Irish for some time.

“We had been talking about it for a long while - since the bilingual signage went up and the refresh of the store happened in the summer we’ve been trying to focus on getting more bilingual around the store.”

“We’re in this for the long-haul - it’s not just a one minute wonder,” she added.

Tesco is one of 12 businesses and organisations shortlisted as finalists for Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh, an annual competition for bilingual businesses in Galway. The award is sponsored by Gaillimh le Gaeilge and will be presented at an awards ceremony in the city next month.

The organisation works in association with Galway City Council, Galway Chamber and other groups to promote Galway as a bilingual city.

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